Let me first tell you that I am not a regular visitor at the mall. Malling is the farthest thing that I’ll do when bored. So,yes, maybe I’m one of those naïve mall-goers who is an easy prey for determined sales agent.
This incident happened in SM-North EDSA last week. A neatly-dressed guy approached me and my friend and asked me if I have a credit card. I said yes and he replied that because of that, I’m entitled for one scratch-card coupon and one free movie ticket. He said that I could win a computer set or an N-70 cellphone. Being a thrill-seeker that I am, I tried. The neatly-dressed guy brought us to their office at the 4th floor. (We took the elevator, still unsuspicious of the real game behind this.)
He introduced me to a woman who must be their receptionist. The receptionist got my full name and birthday. I was informed that there would be a 45-minute presentation. Worried about how my friend would react to her 45-minute waiting time for me, I swayed her to join me in the presentation. So, just like me, she was given a scratch-card coupon minus the free movie ticket.(The neatly-dressed guy forgot to give her the free movie ticket.)
Truth was, I was thinking of leaving the presentation once I get bored but to my surprise, it was just a one-on-one presentation where a sales agent presents their product. (So, that made it difficult for me to leave the presentation.)My friend had another sales agent and she was seated two tables away from me. That made it very strategic for them to capitalize on their sales talking.
The sales agent lectured about financial investments, asked about my dreams and aspirations in life and let me fill up a form which I believe is an application form. She was very enthusiastic and sympathetic and I noticed that every time we agree upon something, she would shake my hand. I was offered coffee. It was like a normal business meeting. At this point, I was still trusting.
In the middle of our discussion, she asked me if I have any idea on where our discussion is heading to. I told her that since she’s mentioning finances most of the time, then it must be a pension plan or an insurance plan. She said that their product is better than an insurance plan or a pension plan because it’s a trust fund.
I asked her how to invest on their trust fund and to summarize, here’s how it is.
- Customer fills up an application form. Only 21-59 years old are entitled to join.
- Customer swipes his credit card to open an account. Prices range from 7,000 to 13,000. If your credit card does not have enough fund, the sales agent will declare that your application is declined.
- If your credit card has enough fund, sales agent will announce that you’re already a member.
- Sales agent gives the contract to the customer.
- Customer signs the contract. Depending upon the agreement, 1000-1800 pesos will be auto-debited monthly from the credit card.
She asked me to go with her in a small room with a credit card swiping machine. I sensed that something was not right. I reasoned out that my credit card has no funds and I went out of the swiping room. She persuaded me to still swipe my credit card. Perhaps, she was thinking that I still have funds in my credit card. She was right. I was just making an alibi.
I told her that at that point, I am undecided. Her supervisor joined us in the discussion. The two of them seemed to gang up on me to sway me. I was firm in my decision not to pursue the application.
The supervisor seemed to blame me for the failed deal. I told her that I appreciate their presentation and asked for a reschedule for the payment. The supervisor said that that is not possible because it’s just a one-time promo. She said that the moment I get out of the room with a failed application, I could no longer qualify for another one. I challenged her and cited a hypothetical situation wherein my mother, brother or father would apply and make me as their beneficiary. She told me that that is not possible because a client with a declined application cannot be anyone else’s beneficiary.
It was already 9 PM then and I frankly yet politely told them that the 45-minute presentation ate my traveling time already that is why I have to leave. She gave up on me. Unfortunately, my friend was convinced by her sales agent and it was too late for me to warn her.(I saw her being escorted in the swiping room by two sales agent.)
She swiped her credit card for the 7,000 opening account. I waited for another 45 minutes for her to finish her application. When we were heading home, she asked me why my application was declined, as what the other agents told her. I corrected that it was me who firmly decided not to pursue the application. She was very disappointed and she thought that she was harassed and pressured to open an account with Berkley. I promised her that we’ll try to fix her concerns the following day. (That’s another story.)